Pleasanton Weekly

News - August 2, 2013

Woodworking wizards

Projects earn top prizes at the Fair

by Jenn Teitell

Students from the Castro Valley Adult and Career Education program took home a number of prizes in this year's Alameda County Fair woodworking competition. The program's woodworking course, taught by instructor Jim Vice, who began teaching woodworking at the Pleasanton in the 1990s, has classes for students with all levels of experience.

"Jim is a machinist by trade, so he's very precise, so I've learned how to properly use a lot of the tools. It's fine-tuning that you learn," said Judy Timmermans, a Danville resident and long-time woodworking student, praising Vice's workmanship and teaching abilities.

Timmermans won Best of Show with a plant stand made of ash and walnut as well as a second place with an octagon table, and fourth place with a Fourth-of-July-themed scooter. She typically gives her projects away to friends and family upon finishing them; in this case, she made the scooter as a present for her young grandson.

"I love it. I just love it," said Timmermans about woodworking, discussing her introduction to the hobby in 1999. "I had a high intensity job, so I'd come home from work, and I could go work with no telephone, I could play with tools, and I could work with my hands.

"When you go do something like that, you don't realize how you can relax and think about other things."

Originality is one of the five categories that judges use to evaluate pieces in the competition, the other four being appearance, artistry, suitability to purpose and craftsmanship. It's an entertaining challenge to modify the work and make it original, said Timmermans. However, she added that the most important part is improving her technique by learning something new with every piece she makes.

Other class members who did well in the competition were Linda McKeever of Pleasanton, Chris Jarvis of Pleasanton and Dave Rauch of Castro Valley.

Vice holds new classes one to two times a year. A typical class is 15 weeks long and has up to 14 students per class. In the beginning class, those new to woodworking build a simple garden table, while the intermediate classes work on projects such as plant stand towers.

To register for woodworking classes or other adult education courses, visit or call (510) 886-1000.


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